Prevention and care of pressure ulcers - evidence based paper

2497 Words Mar 25th, 2008 10 Pages
�PAGE � �PAGE �1� Prevention and Care of Pressure Ulcers


Prevention and Care of Pressure Ulcers

NUSC 434


Pressure ulcers are a commonly seen problem among elderly hospitalized patients. Despite new findings about the causes and approaches to treatment, the incidence of these wounds is still increasing. Scott, Gibran, Engrav, Mack and Rivara (2006) revealed that during the thirteen years of their study, the incidence of pressure ulcer development has more than doubled. As our elderly population becomes greater in number, and older in age, this problem is expected to escalate. It is of great importance for the patients as well as for the
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Literature suggests that the heels should be suspended, with a pillow or a blanket placed under the lower legs (Maklebust). Additionally, the use of pressure relieving mattress is encouraged, but it does not eliminate the need for frequent position changes (Hess, 2004).

Furthermore, another factor creating a risk for pressure ulcer development is malnutrition. Wysocki (2002) observed that 10 to 50% of hospitalized patients are malnourished. Nurses should be alert to inadequate nutrition and its effects. Also, Cobb and Warner (2004) noted that when thirty percent of weight is lost, spontaneous pressure ulcers begin to develop, and prevention strategies might not work. In addition, urinary and fecal incontinence are also significant risk factors. Incontinence results in excess moisture, and irritation of the skin. The nurses and assistive personnel in XY hospital often do not assist their incontinent patients for long periods of time, and they do not utilize the available skin protectants. Studies confirmed the effectiveness of no-rinse cleansers and moisture barrier creams, and found that they were less likely to harm skin integrity than soap and water (Thompson, et al., 2005). The findings also advise that checking the patients for soiling every two hours adds to the effectiveness. Although not all pressure ulcers are preventable and curable, the literature provides supportive evidence that appropriate prevention protocols decrease the incidence of stage one and two